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Interventional Radiology

What is Interventional Radiology?
Interventional radiology is a rapidly growing area of medicine. Interventional radiology is a subspecialty of radiology in which minimally-invasive procedures are performed using image guidance. Interventional radiology procedures are an advance in medicine that often replace open surgical procedures. They are generally easier for the patient because they involve no large incisions, less risk, less pain and shorter recovery times.

Some of these procedures are done for purely diagnostic purposes (e.g., angiogram), while others are done for treatment purposes (e.g., angioplasty). Pictures (images) are used to direct these procedures, which are usually done with needles or other tiny instruments, like small tubes called catheters. The images provide road maps that allow the Interventional Radiologist to guide these instruments through the body to the areas of interest.

Who are interventional radiologists?
Interventional radiologists are medical doctors who have specialized in doing medical procedures that involve radiology. Radiologists use imaging equipment such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) to diagnose disease. IRs are board certified radiologists that are fellowship trained in percutaneous (through the skin) interventions using guided imaging. Their specialized training is certified by the America Board of Medical Specialties.

What are the advantages of interventional radiology?
  • Most procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis or require only a short hospital stay
  • General anesthesia usually is not required
  • Risk, pain and recovery time are often significantly reduced
  • The procedures are sometimes less expensive than surgery or other alternatives

Interventional procedures offered at Thompson Health include:
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy to remove nonfunctioning veins
  • Angioplasty - a procedure using a balloon to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries)
  • Cardiac CTA - a new method of assessing the coronary arteries using 3D CT technology
  • Carotid stent placement for patients with carotid disease
  • IVC filter insertion to prevent blood clots from migrating to lungs
  • Pain Management - minimally-invasive techniques for the management and treatment of pain caused by chronic pain symptoms
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease treatments - less-invasive methods include angioplasty, peripheral stent placement and cryoplasty (freezing balloon)
  • Sclerotherapy for spider veins
  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization for non-surgical treatment of uterine fibroids which makes it possible for many patients to avoid hysterectomy
  • Varicose Vein Ablation - a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins using a laser which can be performed as an outpatient procedure

Interventional radiology services require a signed order from your doctor in most cases. Call (585) 396-6189 for more information.